What To Expect When Flu Season and COVID-19 Pandemic Converges

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Vaccines and terrific therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 are in the pipeline and there are reasons for optimism, but don’t let your guard down just yet. Flu season is on the way. What will happen if healthcare facilities also have to deal with the influx of flu cases? It could be very challenging for our providers.   


The Convergence of COVID-19 and Flu 

The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused tremendous strain on our healthcare system. If it is coupled with the growing cases of flu, the effects could be devastating. Surges in hospitalizations have become the new normal due to the coronavirus. Unfortunately, seasonal influenza also can cause considerable morbidity, mortality, and hospital utilization. The convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flu season could lead to a shortage of hospital beds, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment. 

COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness. If it is combined with flu, it could be more dangerous. Even the moderate flu can amplify the effects of COVID-19. It’s also possible that if a person recently had COVID-19, that person could be sicker when contracting the flu. Another concern is that the symptoms of the two illnesses often overlap, making diagnosis difficult. 

However, despite the danger of this convergence, there are some providers who think that this year’s flu season could be milder than previous years. The big shift in mitigation behavior will have a desirable effect on minimizing flu transmission. The measures being taken to curb the coronavirus—wearing masks, staying at home, social distancing—also work to protect against the flu. 


Similarities Symptoms of Flu and COVID-19

There are a number of symptoms that flu and COVID-19 share:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Headache

Look out for these symptoms and if you feel like you’re coming down with the flu, call your doctor immediately. 


Which People are Vulnerable to Get the Flu?

Anyone can get the flu, even those that are healthy. But people at high risk of developing serious-flu related complications include: 

  • Children younger than 5 years
  • People who are 65 years and older
  • Pregnant women 
  • People with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, cancer, and many more. 


What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Flu and COVID-19?

Because it’s flu season, you need to get your flu shot. You may still get the flu, but the symptoms may be milder and shorter in duration. The month of October is generally the best time to get a flu shot. It takes up to two weeks to generate antibodies so aim to get your flu shot now. 

Social distancing and frequently washing hands with soap and water, and wearing a mask can protect you from the flu and COVID-19. 


The Wrap Up 

The combination of the pandemic and the flu season can cause great concern. It is critical that you protect yourself. Getting a flu shot is more important than ever, especially since we are faced with the coronavirus pandemic and flu season. If you have any questions about this year’s flu shot, you can schedule a meeting in Brazos Valley Allergy & Asthma Clinics. We provide professional allergy, asthma, and immunology services to clients at numerous locations in the Brazos Valley region.

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